Today the Sunday Series Review is back for the first time in 2019 and today Kim reviews the Given Duet by Mindy McGinnis.
Books in the Series:
Given to the Sea
Given to the Earth
Given to the Sea
Published: April 11, 2017
Everyone has a place.
Khosa was born to be fed to the sea, to prevent the kind of wave that once destroyed the Kingdom of Stille. She can’t be sacrificed until she produces an heir, but human touch repulses her…except for the touch of the Indiri.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race with magic that’s seductive—a force of nature—but dwindling since the Pietra slaughtered their people.
Witt leads the Pietra, the fierce warriors who are now marching on the Kingdom of Stille. The stone shores of Witt’s kingdom harbor a secret threat, and to ensure the survival of his people, he’s prepared to conquer every speck of Stille’s soil.
Vincent stands to inherit the throne of Stille, but has no wife to share it with. When the beautiful and mysterious Khosa arrives without an heir, Vincent knows that his father will stop at nothing to make sure she fulfills her duty. Torn between protecting his kingdom and protecting the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is soon at odds with his heart.
While royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the Indiri struggle to survive, the rising sea calls for its Given, and Khosa is destined to answer.
Given to the Earth
Published: April 10, 2018
Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa’s marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she’s untouchable. But being Queen hasn’t stopped her heart from longing for the King’s stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn’t stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.
While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra’s leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.
As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 3 stars
I love Mindy McGinnis; those who read my reviews know this. Sadly, this series is my least favorite of her works. I’ll admit that my main issue was the fact that I had a hard time getting into it. It took me a while before I started caring about the characters and the story. I didn’t enjoy it like I should have while I was reading, which is why I gave it 3 stars. Looking back, remembering the story and each character, I like it better. I liked the guys in this book . . . which isn’t surprising since I don’t like women in general. 😀 Ivan likes to remind me of that especially when I’m critiquing a movie he likes!
Witt and Donil are strong men, yet with inner struggles. Donil manages to keep a smile on his face and an honorable spirit. Witt suffers from a dangerous culture, but I love how he continually puts his people first. Vincent is ok, just a little whiny for my taste, but thankfully he turns into a good leader. The girls are just girls. And unfortunately, there’s a really annoying love triangle. But dang, then the plot twist hits in the second book and I was flabbergasted! The ending was actually really good!
Overall, I did enjoy this series, after the fact. There is also a lot of sex . . . like apparently that’s all anyone does in Stille, with many different people! So, it’s probably best to reserve this for mature teens. I’d recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a unique fantasy story.
Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff
Author and Narrator: Chip Gaines
Published: October 17, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 11-13, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.
In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.
Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.
I previously listened to The Magnolia Story which was narrated by both Chip and Joanna Gaines. (My review is here). Capital Gaines is a bit of a ‘rehash’ of it but solely from Chip’s perspective. I must say I have only ever seen Fixer Upper once when my car was getting serviced, so I don’t really know much of their story other than what I read in Magnolia Story.
Chip is the better narrator of the couple, so I enjoyed listening to his narration. Chip’s writing is more juvenile than Joanna’s and it seems like he writes the way he talks. He comes off on the impulsive side. Several times he talks about the cover of the book and how it came to be. Honestly, I did not care about it and the cover is not that great of a picture. But he is proud of it, so go for it Chip. The book comes off a bit scattered, and maybe that’s how Chip is himself.
I did like how he talks about his faith in God. I am curious about their show, though it is off the air now. I may try to find a couple of episodes to watch and ‘get to know’ the Gaines’.
I would say Capital Gaines would be for fans of the show Fixer Upper.[Top]
Author: Keira Drake
Published: March 27, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a smart and talented apprentice cartographer and a descendent of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined—and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
I found this book at the Barnes and Noble 50% Book Haul. The cover was nice and the description sounded interesting. I decided to move it up my list and read it relatively soon after buying it. It was ok. That’s the only word I can think of to use. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good. I had high expectations at the beginning; it had all the makings of a great story. But as the story progressed, the more disappointed I was. Vaela was a boring, rich girl. Noro could have been interesting, but Vaela brought him down. The political allegory of savagery vs. privilege was obvious and somewhat true, but when the Spire was condemned for minding its own business and not getting involved with the warfare on the Continent, I was done. Even the action was just ok. It held my attention only marginally. I was very glad when I reached the end. Snowflakes definitely won’t like this book, the ones on Goodreads made that very clear! I didn’t think it was offensive, just mediocre. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t recommend it to anyone.